I have decided to write a letter to Prof Phil Barker and his wife Poppy who wrote, "The Tidal Model", to see if they can offer me any advice on how to deal with things.........
Dear Phil, Poppy whoever reads this!
My name is A Truly Registered Mental Nurse and I am A RMN working in a Recovery and Independent Living Unit. I have a diagnosis of Bipolar Affective Disorder which was first suggested to me following a episode of post partum psychosis in 2003. I had a episode of mild/moderate depression following the birth of my second daughter in 2005, and a psychotic depression last year. I rejected the diagnosis of BPAD preferring to stick with post natal illness until spring of this year when I began to research BPAD in order to work with people with this diagnosis. To put it simply I had a moment of insight that hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been asked in the past if I had ever been elated? "No -of course not " , I replied, quite honestly. I took the fact that on several occasions I had managed with no sleep for several days, decorated the entire ground floor of my house in 3 days which I rounded off with a shopping spree that I couldn't afford, went off to France on a whim because I wanted a bottle of wine, and have had many wonderful and exciting experiences as me being well -i.e. NOT depressed - Oops.
The reason I am writing to you is I read your book (The Tidal Model Guide), and it's impact on me was immeasurable. It touched me to the core because it's how I like to work, but my way was kind of undefined and without any structure I suppose. However, my approach and way of working does not seem to be going down too well at my place of employment, and I was wondering if you could give me some advice on this. People keep talking about recovery, but I don't understand their version of recovery, and I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the feedback I have been receiving both directly and more the subtle undertones that I seem to pick up along the way.
I have been advised against getting "deep" or encouraging people to talk about the future if they are in a more acute stage of their illness, or in crisis. I've been advised that we need to get people to take there meds, stabilise them, and then we will have something to work with. It comes across to me as that their vision of recovery is succeeding in making someone adopt our way of doing things because "we know best". I reject this vision of recovery completely. I am also a bit worried that my colleagues think my approach is because I have a mental health issues, and that I am simply a lunatic attempting to run the asylum, a novelty, nuts, nurse. I don't want to compromise myself professionally, but I don't think that their way of doing things is best and I don't want to go along with it although I sometimes feel it would be easier as I'm a bit thin skinned at the moment. There are lots of other concerns and worries I have, and I am going round in circles in my own head trying to make some sense of it all!
I have started writing a blog which reflects my thoughts and feelings in regards to how I nurse, and managing my own feelings about my own issues which are not yet sitting comfortably, but I am trying to come to terms with. I am feeling increasingly confused by how to bring it all together to improve both the well-being of the people I work with, and myself. I won't go into any more details as I'm not sure if this will reach the right person, but if it does I would love to hear from you, and I will give you my blog address if and when you get in touch.
Thanks again for putting together such an inspirational book, and for reflecting in such an articulate and understanding way my own thoughts and feelings on what recovery is all about.
A Truly Registered Mental Nurse